27 January 2017
Thousands of Drivers Caught on Phones in Road Safety Crackdown
Almost 8,000 drivers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland were caught using mobile phone by police, during a week-long police crackdown.
Officers handed out 7,966 fixed penalty notices for the offence during the seven-day safety campaign in November. Thirty-six forces across England, Wales and Northern Ireland took part in the November campaign, stopping 10,012 vehicles.
The fixed penalty currently stands at £100 and three penalty points on your license, but government ministers are expected to increase the fine to £150 and the number of license points to four.
The clampdown comes amid concerns that motorists are failing to heed repeated warnings of the dangers posed by using a mobile phone while behind the wheel. A split-second lapse in concentration could result in a road traffic collision. The distraction of a mobile phone has been proven to make you slower at recognising and reacting to hazards.
In October, the Mirror reported that more than 60 people have been killed in accidents on British roads in the past three years because a driver was using a mobile phone.
It’s vital that our young drivers are educated about how dangerous it is to become distracted by their mobile.
Nearly a third of drivers admitted to making calls whilst driving in the past year, according to a recent RAC report.
It is illegal to use a phone while driving for good reason. The number of people seriously injured in road traffic accidents is more than 22,000 people a year in the UK, according to government statistics. Drivers have a duty to their passengers and other road users to put road safety first. This means operating a vehicle without distraction – something that, as we have sadly seen, can result in life-changing injuries and fatalities for those involved.
Drivers who use their mobile device when driving have half their normal reaction speed and are four times more likely to crash, according to information on road safety charity, Brake’s website. With the number of fatal collisions involving mobile phone use rising in recent years – a 29 per cent increase from 2012 to 2013 – it’s vital that our young drivers are educated about how dangerous it is to become distracted by their mobile.
Further findings on driver distractions include:
- A study of in-vehicle video footage estimated that 22 per cent of crashes could be caused, at least in part, by driver distraction
- Hands-free calls cause almost the same level of risk as hand-held as the call itself is the main distraction, not holding the phone. Brain scanning has confirmed that speaking on a hands-free phone makes you less alert and less visually attentive.
- Texting drivers have 35 per cent slower reaction times and poor lane control.
In June, 2016, a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety in America, found texting and other distractions at the wheel cause six in ten road crashes involving teenage drivers. For more information, please see: Smartphone Distractions Cause Six in 10 Teenage Car Crashes
Last year the Department for Transport announced plans to increase the penalty for people using phones while driving.
Jennifer Maloney is a principal lawyer specialising in serious injury claims at Slater and Gordon in Manchester.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers is a leading personal injury law firm and are experts in helping people with road traffic accident compensation claims and guiding them to brighter outcomes.
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